Happy holidays from Peru

We are at the end of our journey in Peru.

I had the wonderful opportunity to bring my family to Peru and visit the first and only lavender farm in Peru. I was invited by the gracious owner of Sacred Lavender Farm, Jana Hartinger to visit and consult on her farm.

Jana is a true visionary and pioneer. She is starting a lavender industry in the Valle Sagrado (Sacred Valley) in the highlands of of southern Peru in the town of Urubamba.

We were greeted by Jana and Rocio, a friend of Jana’s and the farm manager. After a long day of travel, they welcomed us with all traditional food: Cherimoya, quinoa salad, chicha morada (a delicious sweetened drink made of purple corn), choclo, a colorful selection of potatoes and occa.

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Corn used to make chicha morada

The views of her farm over look the Urumbamba River and the Sacred Valley. Her soil is fertile and rocky. The rocks that they “harvested” are used for building beautiful retaining walls and walk ways. The stone work looks likes that of the Incas.

Jana’s inspiration is to provide lavender for the bees and other pollinators. The setting is perfect for both human and insect.

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Bee hives sit on Inca-style terrace

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Drainage channels made of stone

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Harvesting Jana’s lavender – It’s spring here!

For me, Moray was the most inspirational place.

It is an ancient Inca site with huge natural depressions at 12,000 feet, which, in the year 1420, two thousand workers terraced by hand, transforming the land into an agricultural laboratory, each terrace simulating a different region of the Incan empire.

It took 20 years to complete this astonishing project.

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Legarre-Dery family, Jana & Rocio overlooking Moray, once a gigantic Incan agricultural laboratory

At Moray, the Incas tested over 125 different varieties of potatoes, corn and many other crops. The terraces at the very bottom are quite warm and replicate the jungle areas of the Incan Empire. As the terraces rise, they become cooler. The Inca would plant a given crop from top to bottom in sections, and see in which “zone” a given variety did best. Then they would send the seeds from each variety to the various zones of the empire.

And the level of detail is amazing. Sand from the river basin 4000’ below was carried up by hand to form the terraces designed to mimic the river zones. The whole project obviously took a stunning amount of effort, which makes standing in it a profound and humbling experience.

Moray is one of those places that just awes you with its physical size and scope. The Cordillera forming a 15,000’ backdrop doesn’t hurt, either.

Now we wrap up our time in Peru to visit family and friends in Argentina.

Surrounded by centuries-old beauty, cultural nuance and human connection, I’m grateful once again that lavender led me here.

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Legarre-Dery family at Machu Pichu

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Jumbo Juice de Peru

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